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The Expanding World of Poverty Capitalism

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 31st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

The Expanding World of Poverty Capitalism
Thomas B. Edsall, New York Times: In Orange County, California, the probation department’s “supervised electronic confinement program,” which monitors the movements of low-risk offenders, has been outsourced to a private company, Sentinel Offender Services. … Sentinel is a part of the expanding universe of poverty capitalism. In this unique sector of the economy, costs of essential government services are shifted to the poor. In terms of food, housing and other essentials, the cost of being poor has always been exorbitant. Landlords, grocery stores and other commercial enterprises have all found ways to profit from those at the bottom of the ladder.

Lesotho Prime Minister Flees, Alleges Coup
The prime minister of the southern African kingdom of Lesotho has fled to South Africa, alleging a coup by the army and saying his life is in danger. Thomas Thabane said he would return from South Africa “as soon as I know I am not going to get killed.” He told the BBC Newshour program, “I have been removed from control not by the people but by the armed forces, and that is illegal.” The publisher of the Lesotho Times newspaper, Basildon Peta, agreed that a coup is underway. “To all intents and purposes it is a military coup with the aim of ousting the prime minister. There can be no other reason of soldiers behaving the way they have been behaving other than to seize power,” he said. “So far we have no reports of killings. It would be correct to call it a bloodless coup attempt. But I am not going to stick around.”


Pacino does double duty at Venice Film Festival

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 31st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Pacino does double duty at Venice Film Festival
VENICE, Italy (AP) — Al Pacino is making two trips up the red carpet at the Venice Film Festival, with two movies about aging, regret and letting go. But the actor says he’s not about to lower the curtain on his own career.

Obama attends wedding of personal chef to MSNBC host

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 31st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Obama attends wedding of personal chef to MSNBC host
The president and his family are among guests as White House chef Sam Kass ties the knot with MSNBC host Alex Wagner

Yes, Send Down the Troops, Bob

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 31st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Yes, Send Down the Troops, Bob
Mike Littwin, RealClearPolitics
Bob Beauprez has done it again. He talked. And you know what happens whenever Beauprez opens his mouth. That’s right. He reminds us why he lost by 17 points the last time he ran for governor. This time, he went on the new, but not improved, Peter Boyles show (Latino-talk alert) and was asked what he’d do if Rick Perry asked him to send Colorado National Guard troops to stand alongside the Texas National Guard at the border, presumably to fight off the 9-year-old Guatemalans mustering there. And channeling his inner Tom Tancredo, Beauprez said that, of course, he would send them right…

Gay Marriage and the Limits of Tradition
Steve Chapman, RealClearPolitics
In all the bad days that opponents of same-sex marriage have had lately, few compare with the one they had this past week in a courtroom in Chicago. Lawyers defending the bans in Wisconsin and Indiana were buried in an avalanche of skepticism and incredulity. The judges demanded to know what worthy goals the prohibitions serve, and the attorneys had terrible trouble coming up with any. Perhaps the low point for their side came when one was asked why Wisconsin makes it so hard for same-sex couples to adopt and ventured to say, “I think tradition is one of the reasons.” At that, Judge Richard…

2014 and the Limits of Rage
E.J. Dionne, RealClearPolitics
WASHINGTON — The short-term future of politics in the nation’s capital will be determined in large part by which party ends up in control of the Senate. But for a sense of the long-term future of politics in the country as a whole, watch the governors races. The question to ask: Do voters begin to push back against the tea party tide that swept governorships and legislatures into Republican hands four years ago and produced the most radical changes in policy at the state level in at least a generation? On the Senate races, two things are true. Simply because so many Democratic seats are at…

The Importance of History
Michael Gerson, RealClearPolitics
WASHINGTON — The monumental tapestry triptych by Marc Chagall, hanging in the State Hall of the Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem, hints at some of the artist’s own memories, including from his childhood in Vitebsk, Russia. But these float among images of Jewish history: of Moses with his tablets, of David with his harp. Images of wandering and vulnerability: a village burned, a dead body surrounded by six candles, standing in for 6 million. Images of return and security: pioneers, soldiers and a new flag among the nations. The viewer is immersed in the sweep of a great, inexplicable story — of…


Bercow to face pressure over clerk

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 31st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Bercow to face pressure over clerk
Speaker John Bercow will face pressure from MPs on Monday over his choice of Australian Carol Mills to be the most senior Commons official.

Obama to visit school on Nato trip
Barack Obama will visit a school on the first of his two-day trip to Wales for the Nato summit, the White House says.


Report: US trained spies in Alaska for possible Soviet invasion

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 31st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Report: US trained spies in Alaska for possible Soviet invasion
The United States trained locals to become spies, the AP reported.

P.R. Firm for Putin’s Russia Now Walking a Fine Line

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 31st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

P.R. Firm for Putin’s Russia Now Walking a Fine Line
Ketchum’s staff members who provide public relations advice to Russia must avoid being seen as defending acts contrary to American interests while still providing some luster for a lucrative client.

Affiliate of Al Qaeda Confirms Capture of U.N. Peacekeepers in Syria
The Nusra Front, the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda, said it had seized more than 40 peacekeepers because the United Nations failed to help the people of Syria during the country’s civil war.






U.S. and Iran Unlikely Allies in Iraq Battle
The fight for Amerli appeared to mark the first time American warplanes and militias backed by Iran were working with a common purpose on the battlefield against militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.






News Analysis: East Meets West to Fill European Post, and It’s Harder to Tell Them Apart
The election of Prime Minister Donald Tusk to lead the European Council may be an acknowledgment of Poland’s rising profile.






Sinosphere Blog: On Hong Kong, Democracy and Protecting the Rich
In an unusual theoretical leap, a leading Chinese academic said democracy in Hong Kong must be limited in order to protect the interests of its capitalist class.







Mayor Forces Man To Leave Public Meeting Because He Won’t Stand During Prayer

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 31st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Mayor Forces Man To Leave Public Meeting Because He Won’t Stand During Prayer

Winter Garden Mayor John Rees was caught on video demanding that an audience member stand for a prayer and the pledge — or be escorted out by police.

The post Mayor Forces Man To Leave Public Meeting Because He Won’t Stand During Prayer appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Mayor John Rees (center) at Thursday's meeting

Mayor John Rees (center) at Thursday’s meeting

CREDIT: Freedom From Religion Foundation YouTube video

A Florida mayor ejected one of his constituents from a City Commission meeting on Thursday because he declined to stand during the invocation and pledge to the flag at the beginning of the meeting.

Winter Garden Mayor John Rees, a nonpartisan official leading an Orlando suburb of about 37,000, was caught on video demanding that an audience member stand for a prayer, which thanked God for “allowing us to live in a country where we’re free to believe, think, and pray.”

The audience member responded, “I don’t believe I have to do that, thank you.” After the prayer, Rees again instructed the constituent, identified by the Orlando Sentinel as Joseph Richardson, to stand for the pledge to the flag as “children have to in school.” Richardson again politely declined.

“Okay. I asked him to either stand or please be escorted out as we do the Pledge,” Rees says in the video. “It’s just not fair to our troops and people overseas, sir.”

City police then enforced the mayor’s demand and Richardson left.

Watch the video:

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, the CFFC’s national parent group, in a letter Friday, accused Rees and the chief of police of perpetrating “several serious First Amendment violations.”

The First Amendment guarantees religious freedom and speech. Additionally, section 3 of Florida’s state constitution explicitly demands a strict separation between the state and its subdivisions and religion. While schools do require that the pledge be recited in public school classrooms, Rees is incorrect on the requirements. Students have the right to sit quietly if they do not wish to participate. In a 1942 case on this exact question, the U.S. Supreme Court held that students cannot be coerced into reciting or standing for the pledge. Justice Robert H. Jackson wrote in his majority opinion that “if there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”

Rees told the Sentinel that because Richardson has previously come and left after the prayer and invocation, he believes “he doesn’t come to the meetings because he cares about the city.” Though the American Civil Liberties Union also objected to the mayor’s actions, Rees so far seems unconcerned: “It wasn’t premeditated. I just reacted. It hit me. I said it. I gave him an option. …Life will go on.”

The post Mayor Forces Man To Leave Public Meeting Because He Won’t Stand During Prayer appeared first on ThinkProgress.


Reconnecting With the Very American Ideal That Labor Rights Are Human Rights

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 31st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Reconnecting With the Very American Ideal That Labor Rights Are Human Rights
From: John Nichols

Keith Ellison and John Lewis are right: the US should recognize union organizing as a civil right.


Obama Sets Own Pace in World Beset w/Crises

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 31st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Obama Sets Own Pace in World Beset w/Crises
DeYoung & Balz, WaPo
There is a fun foreign policy game making all the rounds in Washington D.C. this summer: Pin the tail on Barack Obama.Its appeal is not hard to understand; it’s so easy to play.Step 1: Pick a foreign crisis that touches even slightly on U.S. national security interests. This shouldn’t be hard, because the United States defines practically everything in the world as being an American interest….

Do Cops Really Need Grenade Launchers?

Gubernatorial Race Nasty & Expensive

Obama’s Inner Reverend Sharpton
Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune

Obama Refuses to Decide, Fails to Act
Janet Daley, The Telegraph